The NPR Music Tiny Desk Contest has concluded and Alaska-based singer/songwriter Quinn Christopherson has been named the winner!
But there’s a lot more to celebrate than just Quinn’s win. This year, WDET is turning 70 and to kick off the festivities, we’re throwing a Concert of Colors Street Party in conjunction with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Throughout the course of the station’s history, WDET has been committed to shining a light on local musical talent and what better way to do that than to highlight some of our local Tiny Desk Contest submissions? After combing through over 150 Michigan-based entries, the WDET music hosts selected their favorite local acts, and now we need your help to narrow it down to one fan favorite.
The artist who receives the most votes will open for Will Sessions and Dames Brown at the WDET Concert of Colors Street Party.
Check out the artists and cast your vote below! The winner will be announced the week of June 17.
Handgrenades epitomize a never-ending and invigorating state of musical evolution. Formed in 2009, the band found their footing with Beatles and Motown covers, and that influence is clear on their 2012 debut LP, “The Morning After.” Things took an abrupt stylistic shift when singers/songwriters Nick Chevillet and Andrew Pawelski welcomed a third voice into the mix in Jesse Shepherd-Bates. The new format (still with drummer extraordinaire Joby Kaslowski) resulted in the four-song EP 52, full of tight, instantly catchy pop-rock songs that found the band asserting its own identity. The mini-record both cleansed the palate of what came before and teased what was on the horizon: their sophomore full-length, “Tunnels.” Since “Tunnels,” the band has continued excavating their psyches’ rabbit holes, as seen on a series of tantalizing new singles, including the sugary pop gem anthem of “Vampires & Freaks,” the hoof-stomping rocker “Honey B,” and the eerie fluidity of “Heads or Tails.” The three tunes serve of a microcosm of Handgrenades’ strengths, promising all manner of further-mined, earworm-ing weirdness on their forthcoming LP, expected in late 2019.
Johnyce was born and raised on the Westside of Detroit MI. She discovered her love for music at the young age of 3 years old. Her musical inspirations include Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Jasmine Sullivan, and Beyoncé of course. Johnyce has performed on many stages and has opened for many great names such as The Jackson’s, Dru Hill, Eric Benet, Morris Day, Avery Sunshine, Vivian Green, and Maimouna Youssef (MuMu Fresh).
KULTURE & TBA
Whether spitting clever bars over neo-soul rap beats, or nurturing your thoughts with stanzas of sensational spoken word, KULTURE, hailing from Detroit’s westside, is truly a breath of fresh air. The 24-year-old emcee, with the help of To Be Announced, the rapper’s eclectic band, has graced stages with artists like Audio Push, Desiigner, Lil Yachty, Curren$y and 2 Chainz. The forthcoming release, “The Progression,” is very inviting and gives listeners an opportunity to connect with the music after a near 3-year hiatus.
Mark Lavengood is a walking, talking ray of sunshine. His resonant energy and sparkling smile light up every stage, every studio, every room, RV and embrace he enters. A talented multi-instrumentalist, Lavengood specializes in dobro & steel guitar, both of which he’s played for over a decade, while also being well-versed in guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, drums and a variety of percussion instruments. Predominantly as a dobro player, Lavengood toured world-wide for 7 years with the award-winning Michigan-now-Nashville-based Americana outfit Lindsay Lou, performing at a bucket list of venues and festivals over his time with the band. His selfless and gregarious nature has allowed him to collaborate, write and record with some hall-of-fame worthy talents. A natural showman, Mark has released three full-length, critically-acclaimed records, the most recent with the Michigan-based Earthwork Music Collective.
Sara Marie Barron
Sara Marie Barron can bring your guard down. We can tend to block our emotions from bubbling to the surface, but the compositions and powerful performances of this Detroit-based singer/songwriter are an invitation, an assurance, that allowing even just for 4 to 5 minutes of vulnerability can be revitalizing. With formative influences like Carole King, Etta James and Billie Holiday, this young vocalist and songwriter is distinctly able to channel the evocative poignancy and poetry of a certain kind of soul music.